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Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook #23443
11/04/2013 08:42 PM
11/04/2013 08:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 51
E
Ellieg Offline OP
Traveler
Ellieg  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 51
I promised myself I would keep a daily journal, but that never happened. We fell into bed every night exhausted, full and happy. We had a wonderful trip.

We were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and decided if we could get a reasonable fare we would fly business class. When I first checked, the fare was about $3600 each. I listed the flight on kayak for notification of a fare drop. Just when I was about to give up and book coach, I got notification of a drop to $2200. Wow, that was some drop. We booked right then and a few hours later the fare was back up to $3600.

Our trip began on Wednesday, Oct 9th, with an easy 35 minute trip to jfk. We arrived to find a busy Alitalia terminal with no passengers at the sky priority desk. Wow! We checked in and were directed through security to the lounge. Within 15 minutes we were sitting in the Lounge enjoying a glass of wine. What a great way to start the vacation.

The flight took off on time and we were off on our first trip to Italy. Alitalia's "Magnifica" (business class), was great. The seats or pods as they are called, fully recline to a comfortable bed. Each pod has it's own tv screen with a variety of tv shows, movies etc, as well as it's own work station. The pods are somewhat scattered for privacy. The food was really good. They served Parma ham, olives, prawn salad and a few different cheeses. There was two different pasta dishes as well as veal and fish.The wine, excellent as well. After dinner they dimmed the cabin lights, the pods all reclined and most people were sound asleep. I was unable to sleep but not because I was uncomfortable. I was very comfortable.

We arrived in Rome on time, got through immigration and picked up our luggage pretty quickly. Our driver was right outside waiting for us. The first two nights we stayed at the Marriott Grand Flora on Via Veneto. The hotel was very nice. It was within walking distance of the Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, The Pantheon, the Coliseum, and many great restaurants. We took a carriage ride around the center part of Rome and ate at a few good restaurants where we were able to eat outside and enjoy the sights. We also had a private tour of the Vatican, which was excellent. That same afternoon we did a Scavi Tour. The tour is underground. You get to see the Pagan burial sites as well as the burial place of St Peter. You walk on ancient Roman roads that are extremely narrow and the walls are very close. They keep the humidity up at 95% for preservation purposes. It was excellent, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who is clostrophobic.

Saturday morning we left Rome with our driver and headed to Montifollonico with a stop in Siena. We finally arrived at our destination for the week. "La Chuisa". The Tuscan Women Cook use La Chuisa as the home base for their students. The hotel is right in the middle of an olive orchard. We had a nice room with an unbelievable view. We actually had three rooms: bedroom, living room, and a huge bathroom with the biggest jacuzzi I have ever seen. We also had a private terrace.

Our first night in Tuscany we decided to eat at the restaurant at La Chuisa. The owners greeted us by name. They made us feel as if we were in their home. We sat on a couch and shared a bottle of wine before they brought us to a lovely table by the fireplace. Dinner was excellent. We had stuffed zuchinni flowers followed by a bowl of pici. My husband had the veal and I had a chicken dish. We also shared some gellato.

Sunday we made our way into the town of Montifollonico. What a quaint little town. We stopped into church and then had a light lunch on the terrace at la costa. Again, food was excellent. I have to say we never had a bad meal in Tuscany. Sunday evening we met our hosts and fellow students at a coctail party in la chiusa followed by dinner at 13 Gobbi. Bill and Patty Sutherland are the owners of tuscan women cook and are Quite a couple. Bill is the cook, has great stories to tell, and Patty the artist, quieter and a great resourse for everything tuscan. Together they run a great program. Our fellow students were the best. There were 16 of us. This was the last class of the year, so everyone from Bill and Patty were relaxed and happy. We had a ball all week.

The Tuscan women, with the help of an interpreter, taught us how to make many different homemade pastas, different sauces, stuffed pastas such as ravioli and lasagna, eggplant parmasean, chicken dishes, veal dishes, risottos, grilled vegetables, pizzas, and many different desserts. We went to wine tastings, cheese tastings, and olive oil tastings. Many were out in the vineyards and some in the wine cellars. We visited many different restaurants for lunch and dinner and took trips to Siena, Monticchiello, Montepulciano,and Pienza . But mostly we ate, drank and laughed. What a great week. Great food, great wine, and great people.

Our last night at the school was a 6 course meal at la chiusa. We ate and ate and drank and drank ,said our goodbyes, laughed and even cried a little. It was sad to say goodbye but it was a great week.

We stayed 2 extra nights at la chiusa and went with 2 other couples to Sam Gimigano and Cortona. The second day they were going on to Florence but my husband and I decided to sleep in and take a walk into town one last time. We had a great meal at la costa on the terrace again. When we got back to La Chuisa we sat on our terrace for the last time and soaked in the view. We looked over the rows of grape vines and all the olive trees in the valley below. The Cyprus trees seemed to stand guard around the homes that were built into the side of the mountains. Just BEAUTIFUL!

Monday morning we left La Chiusa and headed to Rome. We stayed at Albergo Del Senato right by the Pantheon. We had dinner outside on the piazza with another couple we met at the school. It was a beautiful night. Perfect way to end a perfect vacation.

We flew out of Rome the following morning and again, Alitalia's Magnifica class didn't disappoint. Flight was comfortable, food good, arrived on time and luggage was out quickly.

We had a wonderful vacation. The weather was perfect. The cooking school was great. The hotels, restaurants, food, wine, and the people were the best. Special thanks to Georgia for all her helpful advice. Anon Ellie

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 11/05/2013 10:29 AM.
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Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: Ellieg] #23444
11/04/2013 10:44 PM
11/04/2013 10:44 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,439
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Brava! I've been watching for your report! I knew you would love it as much as I did, and I'm so happy you had good weather. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: Ellieg] #23445
11/05/2013 10:30 AM
11/05/2013 10:30 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,618
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 72,618
Central Florida!
Hi. I inserted some extra lines to make the report easier to read.

Thanks much for the report! Sounds like a lovely time.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: Carol_Hill] #23446
11/05/2013 07:32 PM
11/05/2013 07:32 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 520
Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Temery Offline
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Temery  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 520
Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Hi Mrs. Ellie, so glad you had a wonderful time and thank you for sharing =)

Last edited by Temery; 11/05/2013 07:32 PM.
Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: Ellieg] #23447
11/10/2013 02:10 AM
11/10/2013 02:10 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,925
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
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fabila  Offline
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Posts: 6,925
Yonkers, NY
Lovely report. Thank you for the details

Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: Ellieg] #23448
11/14/2013 10:09 AM
11/14/2013 10:09 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 145
Chappaqua & Southampton, NY
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annS Offline
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annS  Offline
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Posts: 145
Chappaqua & Southampton, NY
Loved your trip report. We just got home from Italy last week and loved 13 Gobbi. We also flew Alitalia Magnifica for the first time (26 trips under our belt) and that is the only way for me from now on. The weather was perfect and at times very warm. We are considering living 6 months Tuscany 6 months New York. We will see. Thanks again. Really loved it.

Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: annS] #23449
11/18/2013 09:07 AM
11/18/2013 09:07 AM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 51
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Ellieg Offline OP
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Ellieg  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 51
We have flown first class before, but nothing like the Magnifica class on alitalia. It seemed from the moment we arrived at the airport till we picked up our baggage, (and our bags really were the first off), the service was great. The biggest plus was the comfort of the seats. It was so nice to lay flat and relax. How great to live in Tuscany for six months a year. Good luck to you. Anon Ellie

Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: annS] #23450
11/18/2013 12:35 PM
11/18/2013 12:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,439
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Posts: 12,439
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
Glad you got to 13 Gobbi, Ann! It was our favorite in Montefollonico.

Re: Trip Report: Italy and Tuscan Women Cook [Re: GaKaye] #23451
12/06/2013 05:12 PM
12/06/2013 05:12 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 524
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sxmmm1987 Offline
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sxmmm1987  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 524
Ellie Thanks for that wonderful report. Can you suggest some travel boards for Italy such as traveltalkonline? I am planning a trip to Italy and would love to research it. TTOL is a wonderful resource. Thanks


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